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Animal Rights Group Compassion Over Killing Files Lawsuit Against Cal-Cruz Poultry Hatcheries after Undercover Investigation Reveals Horrific Cruelty

An animal rights group has filed a lawsuit against a California poultry hatchery following an undercover operation that revealed horrific abuses of baby chickens. Shockingly, the hidden camera probe could potentially result in terrorism charges being filed against the activists under an alarming Bush-era law designed to protect corporate factory farming operations.

According to the San Jose Mercury News, Compassion Over Killing has filed a lawsuit against Cal-Cruz Hatcheries, Inc. alleging widespread animal abuse at the company’s Live Oak, California hatchery. A Compassion Over Killing activist secretly filmed the abuse of chickens and ducks, including the “[operation] of heavy machinery in a manner that regularly mutilates hatchlings,” the “neglect [of] dying birds trapped in machinery or on the concrete floor,” the drowning of baby chicks in buckets of waste and the tossing of hatchlings into trash bins where they remained for hours.

Compassion Over Killing turned its grisly footage over to Santa Cruz County Animal Services, which conducted its own independent investigation and forwarded its findings to the Santa Cruz District Attorney’s office.

“This is a systemic problem,” Carter Dilliard, litigation director for the Animal Legal Defense Fund, told the Mercury-News. “This is a problem that’s rife in the agricultural industry.”

Indeed, a Mercy for Animals undercover probe of a Butterball turkey farm in North Carolina recently revealed employees brutally kicking, stomping and dragging birds around by their necks. Many turkeys had missing eyes, deformed feet and other injuries; many were also living in horrific conditions and covered in feces and flies.

Incredibly, such undercover investigations are considered terrorism by the FBI under a Bush-era law, the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA), that prohibits any person from engaging in certain conduct “for the purpose of damaging or interfering with the operations of an animal enterprise.” The AETA has been slammed by critics as a measure designed to protect corporate profits at the expense of animal welfare and public safety.

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